Friday, July 29, 2016

Where are the true liberals?

I consider myself an ardent supporter of liberty. Liberty, which means freedom to choose, express myself the way I want and live the life the way I like is among the most important things which I value. I consider myself a liberal, not the 'liberal' in a way people understand in political terms,  but a true liberal. Actually, I find the terms 'liberal' and 'conservative' quite misleading as far as their political usage is considered, they don't make much sense to me, they are used as an alternate names for major political parties without any meaningful association with the real meaning of those words. Recently I had the following conversation with one of my friends.
He asked me, "You must be a supporter of illegal immigration and socialism, do you want US to open its borders?"
I said, "What makes you think that? Why will I support illegal immigration?"
He seemed to be surprised by my reply and asked back, "Aren't you a liberal?"
I replied, "I am a liberal, not a moron to support illegal things".
This is the level of conversation between so called liberals and conservatives now a days. It is really amazing to see what type of impression they both have about each other. I can't associate myself completely with any of these groups, I found some really good and some really bad ideas coming from both these groups. I choose to call myself a liberal because, I am open to all new ideas, nothing is sacred or unquestionable for me, I am willing to listen to all ideologies and for me only the good ideas matter not their source. Unfortunately, I don't see these characteristics in many of these so called liberals, these people have made the term 'liberal' so restrictive and narrow that it has almost become a sort of organized religion, it is no more a description of an emotion or a trait which liberates you from barriers and makes you a free thinker. That's why I ask 'where are the true liberals?'.

Being a true liberal is not easy, that is why there are very few true liberals around, most people like to associate themselves with a certain religion or political ideology or even a cult, they all love the comfort and warmth of that community as it gives them a sense of belonging and provides a safety net which most of us need. This feeling of belonging to some group is a very important part of our social behavior. Actually, we all belong to some group or other, some of these groups are very huge (like country, city or religion) and some are small (like school, friend circle, our workplace, etc.). This feeling of belonging is not wrong or bad, but to accept everything propagated or taught by that group without questioning it is something I don't like or can't do. A true liberal will never reject or accept an idea just because it is coming from a political group which he or she supports or doesn't support, They will never bother about the source, but treat every idea or thought based on its merit, it is not an easy thing to do as we have to first acknowledge and then eliminate as much as possible our prejudices and think objectively. 

True liberals will always be fair to others, especially to people who they criticize, they will support the freedom of expression for everyone, not just for themselves, no matter whether they agree of disagree with that group or person. They will never get offended by anyone's remarks as they will know that freedom of expression comes with freedom to offend. They don't discriminate or judge people based on their food, dress, sexual orientation, religion, race, color, age, gender or any other thing. They also know that any type of bigotry cannot be curbed by silencing bigots, but by allowing them to express their stupidity and countering it with rationality and logic. They will not support or demand ban on any book, movie or speech. Any type of discrimination will not be acceptable to them, they also acknowledge that rights come with responsibilities. They support equality, not just equal rights, but equal responsibility and equal accountability. They also accept that their views can be rejected, challenged or even ridiculed as these things are part of any debate or argument. They question or challenge opinions or ideas, not individuals. They understand that freedom to choose is the right of everyone. I would love to see these so called liberals try to do justice to the real meaning of this word, until then I think I have no choice but  continue my search for true liberals.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

No comments:

Post a Comment